Is Earning Six Figures Worth the Loneliness?

wpid-img_20141018_174316.jpgIt’s funny, before we had any kids I wanted a house full of them. Not that I necessarily wanted to carry and care for a bunch of kids, but as an adult I wish I had more siblings. I have a non-existent family (Mike’s family MORE than makes up for my tiny family) so when we started our family I thought I’d want a bunch of kids. Then I actually had one and drastically changed my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with her. She’s great (though every parenting book should warn you about the experiences between the ages of 2.5-3.5, UGH). I’m surprisingly content with my life though. I enjoy my little trio immensely and for a long time couldn’t even fathom adding another person to our lives. Though there would be a lot I’d miss about not having another child, I accepted that being happy as a trio was enough for me, no more babies.

I wish I could remember where I first read the stat that children with no siblings are more likely to earn a six-figure paycheque (than those with siblings), but I don’t. Choosing to not have another child would provide us with many opportunities for both my husband and I, as well for her. If Maria was our only child she would have many more opportunities than if we had even one more kid and it makes me think hard about our decision to have, or not to have, more kids.

If Maria remains an only child I can see how the road would be paved that she could out herself on a path towards earning herself a six-income career. Private school, fully funded post secondary, regular international travel experiences, more extra curricular opportunities. All of these things would be building the foundation to a life full of success and aspiration (though no guarantee) and while I honestly do want the world for my child, she probably won’t get all of these things. At the end of the day the relationship Mike and I have with our siblings is irreplaceable and I can’t imagine not having it, or not providing that relationship for Maria.

This isn’t a pregnancy announcement (Hello- debt goals!) but rather me stating I’d rather have a life rich in other non-monetary ways.  Though I want her to strive for amazing things in life, to reach a figure-pointed income for herself is not one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I want her to be the best she can be at everything she does, and if she manages to land a job that earns her a significant income, that’s great! But if she doesn’t have anyone to share her life with, will it be worth it? While you can have support, love and friendship with people who aren’t your siblings, I have a goal as a parent to raise her- and future kid(s)- to always love and support each other. I truly believe that when nurtured properly, a good sibling relationship is irreplaceable. When you have nothing else in life you will always have your sibling and that is worth more than any amount of money to me.


(Just so you don’t think I’m making this stuff up here’s a link to a related article

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  1. Saver Spender was just talking about this and while I think the sibling relationship is priceless if it’s a good one, my experience was so opposite that I always have to mention: somet of us would have been far better off without our siblings. I didn’t need the cautionary tale lesson that my sibling served, which is sadly the only possibly positive thing I can take away from having had a sibling. I know quite a few others who have also been actively disadvantaged and/or harmed by having siblings so it’s not always the guarantee we tend to expect that we’ll always have company if we’re not only children. I wish that weren’t the case. I know my parents chose to have more than one because they too worried about the first one being lonely and an only child bearing the burdens of being an only. My spouse, PiC, has the warm and close relationship to his siblings that I always wished for,
    but the sad fact is my life would have been much happier and healthier without my sibling.

    • Catherine says

      Yup, I agree. My mom is the perfect example of this story so I totally relate to what you’re saying. As a parent all I could do is try but I have a few years to change my mind since getting pregnant again is NOT on the agenda any time soon and like I said, I’m very content.

  2. I don’t believe I will have anymore children which leaves me down to one. I am the youngest of seven and I love having so many siblings. I really believe it depends on how your raised and what the home life was while growing up with your siblings. I hate it that my daughter is the only child and if I could do it all over again, I would have loved to give her a brother or sister. My dream for her is to have a career that she loves regardless of how much money she makes. This is the second time today I have said this, but there is an old saying that “All money isn’t good money”.

    • Catherine says

      So true and don’t dwell on what you ”couldn’t give” your daughter. Nurture the relationship she has with you and i’m sure with 7 siblings she has cousins (?) she can hang out with!!

  3. Having a sibling doesn’t necessarily mean you will be close with them. I had a brother and we weren’t at all close. My husband and I made the conscious decision to have just one child. We did have to make an extra effort to involve him in activities or have a friend come visit for an afternoon but I don’t think he suffered for being an only child. We were also able to provide much more for him both financially and emotionally than we would if all resources were divided among other children. It is definitely an individual decision a couple has to make together.

  4. I can totally see where you’re coming from (I don’t have kids), but I always thought I would want three. Now that we’re approaching our 30s, we realize how expensive kids can be and I believe I would be content with 1, of course, that could always change. I also think having a small family has so many benefits, not just financial.

    • Catherine says

      So many benefits, travel is easier, costs are lower etc etc…but then I see her playing with other kids and see how much she enjoys that and know she’d be an amazing big sister so we’re going to (eventually) balance our choices!

  5. I think I could have easily been happy being an only child. I have a brother but we do not have a good relationship and never have. I have friends who were only children and they seem very well adjusted, so I think really it’s just how each child was raised.

    • Catherine says

      Oh I don’t disagree with you, every person and situation is different. I think Maria would be fine as an only child but I’d be sad as a parent if I didn’t give her the opportunity to TRY to form a good sibling relationship since they are amazing when it works out.

  6. I have great relationships with both my brother and sister, and can’t imagine life without them. Granted, I was an only child for 8.5 years, so I do actually remember when life used to be all about me, haha. But I love being a big sister to them, watching them grow up, learn and find their ways. I really hope we stay close throughout our adulthood. So, I’d want to have 2 kids, if it was up to me. 🙂

    • Catherine says

      What drives me crazy is people telling me I ‘have to get on it’ with having another kid (Maria is almost 3) because they won’t be friends if I wait too long. Umm nope. Mike’s cousin is more than 10 years younger than me and we have a great relationship- I’m not rushing to push out another kid so I can force a friendship on them. There’s only 18 mos b/w my sister and i and we went out of our way to be as different as possible growing up (super close now). Age doesn’t matter.

  7. If it’s any consolation, between my spouse’s siblings and mine (and the two of us), we’re at 3 of 4 clearing 100k.
    I have never heard that stat before, though, and it’s pretty darn interesting. I wonder how much of that is Tiger parenting (asian or other!), and how much of it is the ability focus more financial and time resources on the kid?

    • Catherine says

      Yeah it’d be interesting to know. It also so depends where one lives. While we clear well over 100k as a couple I alone could make 100k doing what I currently do in BC. So there’s a lot to consider!

  8. We have an only child. One reason is because we were never ones to hope for a houseful of children. The other is that I had terrible complications after giving birth. I wasn’t told not to have another one, but I was so thankful to come out OK that it wasn’t a chance I wanted to take. We could have adopted, but found we are perfectly happy with one. Jim and I both have one sibling. We do love them but are not especially close. The one huge benefit I see right now is in having two people to help take care of aging parents. I hope we are in good enough financial shape that we can hire help if we need it and we don’t have to burden our daughter with that responsibility. You are right that having one child gives them tons of advantages educationally and money wise. I guess we’ll see someday if we made the right choice.

  9. I see both sides of the argument. I was an only child, and it could get lonely at times. I can’t imagine my mom without her siblings.

    But then there’s my BIL. he made my husband’s life hell with various addictions that also meant acting out, constant lying etc. Not that my husband wasn’t his own form of hellion, of course, and he was a typical older brother. Meaning he did some tormenting. But seriously, I wonder how his life would’ve been different. Some of the issues were, frankly, due to poor parenting/boundaries, but I think it would’ve been better with just one kid to worry about.

  10. I completely understand your point of view as we had the same thoughts as you when our first daughter was a baby. We knew that we had the possibility of providing her with more opportunities as an only child but, at the end, we decided that the relation with a sibiling was more important that any other opportunity. Now she is 14.5 years old and her brother is 6 years old and we feel that our family is perfect with 2 children. Moreover, my daughter remembers perfectly her life as an only child as she was 8.5 when her brother was born and she completely prefers to have a sibiling! This is our point of view but, of course, it is an individual decision!

  11. That’s a good perspective Cath. It really depends on your family planning and preference. One kid is fine with me, but two kids are more than fine. Three kids? Maybe no. Nowadays, it’s not about the quantity but the quality.

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